Kyle Hall was 5 when the DNA test proved that “Dad” was his biological father.
“He wouldn’t even look at me,” remembers Kyle. “Then my dad left me on the front porch at 14, promised he’d pick me up for my birthday, and never came.”
Now 32 with a son of his own, Kyle wants the cycle of abandonment to end with him. And that’s why he’s thankful for Angel Tree®.
BREAKING THE CYCLE
Kyle went to prison on drug charges. His son, Devon*, was 4. During his three-year incarceration, communication was sparse. Kyle would record himself reading books to Devon on video, in addition to writing letters. He saw Devon every few months at best.
“It takes a lot of effort for a family to make that visit,” Kyle explains. “They had their own lives going on while I served time. It wasn’t their fault I was in prison.”
Christmas was the hardest time to be separated. Kyle remembered the holidays when his own dad wasn’t around and there wasn’t a single gift under the tree. He couldn’t bear the thought of putting Devon through the same thing.
Then a prison chaplain nudged Kyle to sign up for Angel Tree.
Angel Tree, a program of Prison Fellowship®, serves incarcerated parents by giving them a pathway to restore and strengthen relationships with their children and families. In addition to year-round opportunities like Angel Tree Camping™ and Angel Tree Sports Clinics, the program mobilizes local churches and organizations to deliver a gift, the Gospel message, and a personal message of love to children like Devon on behalf of their mom or dad behind bars.
“Some guys like to forget about their families after they get incarcerated,” Kyle reveals. “It kind of makes it harder, remembering the family you’re separated from because of something you did.”
Feeling the sting of separation, Kyle wanted to do his part, even from prison—where he learned that a simple gift can change everything.
DELIVERING HOPE THAT LASTS
After Christmas, Kyle called home to find out Angel Tree volunteers had delivered a winter jacket, a hat, and some toys to Devon.
“I wish I could just get in my son’s brain to see what it was like to see a gift that said ‘Daddy’ on it … it’s overwhelming,” says Kyle. “It doesn’t take but 10 minutes of your time to volunteer, and that child is going to remember that [gift] forever.”
Kyle won’t soon forget those gifts, either. He believes Angel Tree helped him open up to God. One year into his prison sentence, Kyle went to a revival where he says he “found God.” He then spent nine months in a faith-based program and participated in InsideOut Dads, a program facilitated by Prison Fellowship. Then Angel Tree gave him a tangible way to deliver love to his son and nurture a lasting connection.
Kyle returned home from prison in 2016 determined to root out the influences that once led him astray. Recently married, he now lives and works in Indianapolis. Nearly every weekend, he attends church and spends time with Devon, now 8.
“Angel Tree showed my family the love of God,” says Kyle. “If it wasn’t for Angel Tree, I wouldn’t be who I am today.”
*Name changed for privacy